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When one hand at the piano is asked to speak for two

Pianist Leon Fleisher performing with conductor Kazushi Ono and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood on Friday.
Pianist Leon Fleisher performing with conductor Kazushi Ono and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood on Friday. Hilary Scott

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Few 20th-century pianists left a more palpable mark on the modern piano repertoire than Paul Wittgenstein, who, even after losing his right arm as an Austrian soldier in World War I, chose to continue performing. He did so by commissioning many of the great composers of the day – including Strauss, Britten, and Prokofiev — to create works for the left hand alone, and the results still echo in concert halls down to this day.

Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand is the most widely played of the Wittgenstein commissions, and Leon Fleisher brought the concerto back to Tanglewood this weekend, performing it with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Friday night under the baton of Kazushi Ono.

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